Sunday, February 28, 2016

Summer 2014 - Part 2

We had a special visitor all the way from France! Audrey was visiting some friends in Louisiana for the summer and was able to come out to Dallas to spend a week with us. Tracie came out to spend time with her and us as well. We had a great time showing them around Dallas, seeing some sites and eating some good food. 

We ate at our favorite pizza place, Cane Rosso, walked around the American Airlines Center, saw the Old Red Dallas County Courthouse, the Grassy Knoll, and the Dallas Museum of Art. It was a lot of fun showing them around.

Shortly after, Audrey's little sister Clemence flew into St George to stay with the Wyson's for about a month. We traveled to Salt Lake for Jared and Sydney's wedding which was great. We stayed up in Park City, spent some time around Temple square, rode the Alpine Mountain Coaster, and had a great time in Utah.

Then we headed down to St George for some fun at the lake. Dana and Jason took all of us out on their boat to do some wake surfing and work on our tans.

It was Clemence's first time out on the boat so she was a little scared at first. She worked up the courage and decided to go on her knees at first.

Then, she got really brave and decided to try it for real, as long as I got in and helped her. After some failed attempts, she finally got up and left me in the dust (as you can see below). She was sooo excited.

Natali got in as well, and decided she liked wakesurfing on her knees better than standing up.

And here are Dana and Jason with Lucas. They just seem like they could live on the lake. 

The newlywed couple!

And Dana got out and showed us how it was done.

Back in Dallas, I decided to put some of my free time to good use. BYU was doing a thing where they dropped a "BYU Box" in different cities every day before the football season. I parked downtown waiting for the drop and I was able to snag it in front of the American Airlines Center after some snazzy driving (and possibly some illegal parking).

We decided to go over to Fort Worth and check out what it had to offer. If you visit Dallas, but want to get a little bit more cowboy feel, the place to go is the Fort Worth Stockyards. They have Rodeos every weekend, trick riding shows, and long horn cattle drives through the streets. There are also all kinds of shops and restaurants to check out.

We headed over to see the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I really wanted to cool off and jump in, but I resisted. Very cool to see the huge amount of water everywhere.

And here is what we call a mountain here in Texas. Yeah, we miss the big mountains of Utah, but who needs Mount Timpanogos when you have something like this, am I right?

Natali and I headed down to Austin to catch the BYU v. Texas game.  Before the game we were able to catch some sights and eat some food. We found a great restaurant right on the river with some great Hawaiian-Mexican food (yes, that is a thing and it is amazing).

We walked around and inside the Capitol building.

We also saw the Austin Art Wall. We can definitely see why they say "Keep Austin weird."

Then we headed to the game. And yes, it was awesome. I had never heard 100,000 fans as quiet as that day. It was amazing to be there in person and see Taysom's legendary hurdle over the Texas defender.

The look on the Texas fans' faces says it all (well the score does too).

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Summer 2014 - Part 1

Life never seems to stop, and the summer of 2014 was no exception. We apologize for writing about things that happened two years ago. I don't know who I am apologizing to because, let's be honest. the people that are reading this are Natali every few weeks to remember the good times when she is having a bad day (Love you Nat), Mom and Dad (Hi Mom and Dad!), and all you other people that must be bored out of your minds if you are reading our catchup blog from 2 years ago (thanks for coming!).

One thing that Natali and I love about Summer is heading to the cheese shop, grabbing a baguette and a couple of cheeses, and heading down to Turtle Creek with a picnic blanket and eating the cheese while watching the turtles and ducks. It is exactly what Natali needs to relax after a long week of work.

Of course, summer can't officially come until the annual trip to Black River. This year, Mark, Dad, Ryne, myself, and Barry all headed out early Thursday morning to catch some fish out in the wilds of Arizona.

We have to hike about a mile to the campsite, crossing the river many times. It is very important to cross the river in the right spots, I know this from experience. The very first crossing of the river I crossed about 5 feet further upriver than I should have. Bad idea. I slowly stepped into the river with my pack on and when I took another step, my foot didn't find the bottom of the river where it should have been. Luckily I had my pack unbuckled and I frantically tried to keep it above my head but my feet still could not find the bottom of the river. I finally got my footing and headed, drenched from head to foot, to the other side of the river. Let me just say, I am grateful for the waterproof sack my sleeping back was in or else the rest of the trip could have been miserable. The rest of the group seemed to have a good laugh at it.

It was hard to get Dad out of the river. No time to put the pack down when there are fish to catch.

Mark has his own unique technique.

We called ahead and had the cows prepare our campsite so that the grass was nice and trimmed when we got there. They did a good job, but left a few presents before they finished the job. Always good to get camp set up, a nice fire, and some hot food in the belly.

Yes, even Mark caught a fish!

Dad, the catfish king.

Dad with another catfish. As he was bringing it in, a bass seemed like he felt left out and was following right behind the catfish. Ryne threw out his line about 5 feet from shore, and the bass never felt left out again. 

The biggest catch of the trip went to Ryne on one of his last casts of the trip. Ryne was fishing close to the truck when he started reeling in and felt like he caught a the BIG one. As it got closer he saw that it was not just one fish, but a bunch of fish. It turns out Dad had a bunch of catfish and bass on a stringer and he had lost it without knowing it. Ryne had somehow snagged the stringer 50 yards downstream from where Dad was currently fishing. And there you have it, the Black River miracle. 

While I was at Black River, here is what Natali's life looked like. 

And here is proof that summer officially has arrived.

So in May, we decided to take a mini trip down to Houston to go and see some good friends of ours, Diana, Jason, and little Blake. They had moved to Houston to do a 1 year training after Jason graduated from medical school before he started his residency in Colorado. We had a great time hanging out with them (well Natali had to do some work which was NOT fun for her, but overall it was great!). 

We headed down to the pond close to their place to feed the ducks and enjoy the great weather.

We ate some great food, caught up with some great friends, and I even had time to play some Halo.  Thanks to Diana and Jason for being great hosts and letting us crash at your place for a great weekend getaway. 

Before we left town, Natali and I were able to head over to the Waterwall, close to the Galleria mall and snap a few pictures. 

We have found a few places around Dallas that we love to go on Saturday. One of these places is Grapevine. Our favorite place there is a oil and balsamic vinegar tasting place where they let you try all different kinds of infused olive oils and different flavors of balsamic vinegar. They have all kinds of other shops on the main street and it is a very quaint little Texas town. Natali says we go back for the pictures, olive oils and vinegars, and the shops, but I think she might have a crush on this cowboy that can be found on the same bench every time we go. 

And Summer is not Summer without the 4th of July. In the morning we headed to Highland Park to catch the 4th of July Parade. They had booths and all kinds of activities set up. 

We decided to look around at all the fireworks shows around Dallas (and there are a LOT) and found one at Ranger's stadium. It was perfect. The stadium played music to go along with the fireworks show and they had concessions where we got some nachos. Food, patriotic music, and fireworks. What more could you ask for? 

After the firework show, many people stayed and spent the night sleeping on the baseball field. I tried to convince Natali it was a good idea, but she could not be convinced, and seeing how bad she blows up when she gets bitten by a mosquito, it was definitely a good thing we did not stay any longer.